Wednesday, May 12, 2021

1963 – White Shatters Record at Winchester

Car owner Dizz Wilson (left) joins his driver, Johnny White, who accepts his trophy and check from Pete Wales, the owner of Winchester Speedway, for setting a new 1-lap world record of 17.66 seconds which equals to 101.925 mph on a half-mile track.

Winchester, Ind. (May 12, 1963) – Johnny White re-wrote the record books at Funk’s Winchester Speedway on Sunday afternoon, winning the 30-lap feature and shattering the world half-mile sped record.

In all, the slender driver from Warren, Mich., set four speed marks and won three events. For this, he pocketed $625 in prize money.

White the defending International Motor Contest Association national champion, throttled his new #1 Weinberger Chevrolet to a record shattering 17.66 second lap on the half-mile paved track, which figures out to 101.925 miles per hour.

The old record of 18.06 seconds was set last fall by Parnelli Jones and Roger McCluskey in a USAC sprint show. White’s IMCA mark for the distance was 18.08 seconds, which was a world record for about two months before being lowered by Jones and McCluskey.

White blazed to victory in the 30-lap feature, setting an IMCA record of 9 minutes and 26.63 seconds for the race. The old mark of 9 minutes and 38.77 seconds was held by Bob King of Muncie, Ind.

Also falling before the onrushing White were the IMCA marks for five and seven laps. He won the 5-lap match race in 1 minute and 30.82 seconds to break Johnny Rutherford’s standard of 1 minute and 32.65 seconds and scooted home in 2 minutes and 10.87 seconds in the 7-lap first heat, bettering his own mark of 2 minutes and 13.35 seconds.

The race, run before 1,500 chilly spectators, was entirely free of mishaps despite numerous cars spilling or spraying oil on the surface.

White was hard-pressed by Bob Pratt, who ran second to White for 26 laps of the feature until the engine let go in his Engle Chevy, eliminating the Union City, Ind., driver in a large puff of blue smoke.

After pulling out to a straightaway lead over Pratt and Tom McClellan, White ran into slower traffic on lap 7, allowing Pratt to trim the lead to about three car-lengths at the halfway point.

Then Pratt ran into traffic and White went back to his straightaway advantage. Pratt again began picking up ground on White at this point as White’s began spraying oil back into the cockpit.

At that point, Pratt’s engine let go and White coasted the remaining four circuits, more than a half-lap ahead of McClellan. White was treated in the winner’s circle for burns on his right leg and face.

Jim Nelson of Saginaw, Mich., driving the Rube Snellenberger Chevy, took third. Fourth was Gordon Woolley of Waco, Tex., in the Colvin-Young Chevrolet and fifth went to Al Smith of Dayton, Ohio, in a Buick-powered mount.

Heat winners, in addition to White, were Don Friend of Detroit, Mich., driving the Helke Chevy, and Smith. Arnie Knepper of Belleville, Ill., driving the Pete Mocca Offenhauser, won the 10-lap consolation.

Results –

1. Johnny White, Warren, Mich.
2. Tom McClellan, Dayton, Ohio
3. Jim Nelson, Saginaw, Mich.
4. Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
5. Al Smith, Dayton, Ohio
6. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
7. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
8. Bob Davis, Dayton, Ohio
9. Ray Duckworth, Anderson, Ind.
10.Vern Schmidt, Toledo, Ohio

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